This being an even-numbered year, there is no Euroluce attached to the Milan Furniture Fair (they have the kitchen show, EuroCucina, instead). The rules of the main Fair forbid lighting stands, so the only lights you'll see there are dressing furniture stands. On non-Euroluce years, the lighting community gathers in Frankfurt, for Light+Building (for which I have one of my fair guides half-written but, as a result of the death of my father, I may not be able to complete or issue it).
HOWEVER, there are lots of exciting lights being shown in Milan itself during the time of the Fair, both at the showrooms that Italian lighting makers have there, and in all sorts of other spaces. No interiors event has the buzz -- the parties! -- of Milan during the week of the Furniture Fair!
We are highlighting here some of the lighting destinations in Milan that you should not miss. There is no definitive list of who will be where, so I'll update this post if I hear of any other worthwhile destinations. But, as always, pick up the Interni guide when you arrive.
I am only too used to the expressions on the faces of Britons when I point out that, for over 100 years, the world's top designers and architects have been designing lights -- striving to create the most beautiful, the most fascinating, the most effective, sometimes the most challenging, pieces they can. Nevertheless, it is true, and the best place to experience this is in the Brera district of Milan, at Via Varese 15, where the studio of Michele de Lucchi is. Besides being one of the world's most illustrious architects, he is also a leading designer of lights. His portfolio includes several designs for Artemide, including Tolomeo and LED net -- currently the most enquired about light in all the Architonic Virtual Showrooms.
But for a balanced, creative existence he has his "private production", Produzione Privata, that allows him contact with craftsmen and materials without the same level of commercial pressure. This is run from the studio, which is where they stage their exhibition during the Salone del Mobile. The light at the head of this post is a new design being launched this year. I can't think of anything that works quite as this one will: an uplighter, but decorative -- the glass will also be lit by the edge of the cone of light. It is part of an exhibition called Sostare Penzolando (Standing and dangling).
So they are must-see. Who else is?
FontanaArte arguably still has the finest collection of 20th century designs of any lighting company but they have lost their way in recent years. So we are delighted that, strengthened by recent changes in ownership, they are announcing for Milan and Frankfurt that "something new is back!".
"FontanaArte takes part in the most important international lighting fair where it will show its new products and release a new edition of its historical products designed by those architects who have played key roles in the company’s success over 80 years of history."
So you should see mouth-watering additions to their collection of vintage lights, at the Casa degli Atellani, Corso Magenta, 65 and no doubt at their excellent showrooms (where the whole collection can be seen) at Via Santa Margherita 4.
Maybe the biggest splash will be made by the English! Tom Dixon is creating MOST at the Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia, Via Olona 6B, with our favourite design blog, dezeen, which is setting up their Design Studio "powered by Jambox". The space is being furnished by Tom Dixon to resemble Andy Warhol's Factory, and there will be lots of groovy stuff happening -- see also this post from dezeen. It will be a chance to see Tom Dixon's new Fin Light and Etch Web, about which we have posted recently. Delightfull will be there too -- see our recent Delightfull posts.
Venice's two greatest brands will, as always, be putting on spectacular shows. Barovier & Toso will be in the Orto Botanico di Brera, creating The Secret Garden with Paola Navone, Citco and Zaha Hadid. Venini have not yet let on what they are going to do but, whatever it is, you won't want to miss their showroom at Via Monte Napoleone 9.
Not to be outdone, Baccarat is putting on an exhibition at the Palazzo Morando, Via Sant'Andrea 6.
Meanwhile, MGX and FOC will be showing more ground-breaking pieces made using rapid-prototyping technologies. MGX will show a trio of Algue.MGX lights by Xavier Lust [sic] as part of the Perspectives exhibition at the Triennale. Meanwhile, FOC will be at the Dream Factory in the Brera district -- Corso Garibaldi 117.
The exhibited items that will have travelled furtherest will David Trubridge's, from New Zealand. Normally, David himself comes too, but not this year (he'll be in New York at the Wanted Design show, that is concurrent with ICFF). His absence is for a good reason, though; distribution in Europe has now been sorted out, CE-certified versions are becoming available, and more pieces are being shipped as kit sets. So do take this opportunity to see current favourites, plus some new suprises! Via Madonnina 12.
Talking of CE certification, we try to bring to your attention those very few north Amican lighting companies who do create international versions of their lights. This means that you can specify them knowing them to be safe and legal. So we are delighted to point you to Spazio Pontaccio (Via Pontaccio 8) where you will see pieces by the exciting young New York City-based Roll & Hill. There will be new designs by the company's founder, Jason Miller, as well as by the justifiably very fashionable Lindsey Adleman and Rich Brilliant Willing.
Do not forget the brand-specific lighting showrooms in Milan. Besides FontanaArte and Venini (referred to above):
Artemide Corso Monforte 19 and Via Manzoni 12
Flos Corso Monforte 9
Luceplan Corso Monforte 7
Catellani & Smith will be at the Casa della Luce, Via Ventura 5
Foscarini will be at Superstudiopiu'
Pallucco will be at Via Tortona 37 Block 2H.12-21